USATSI_8318689_154158418_lowresAs expected, the New York Rangers have signed defenceman Marc Staal to an extension. Reports say the extension runs for six years and is worth $34.2 million, which at the outset sounds like a bundle.

“Marc has been one of the cornerstones of our team since he arrived in New York,” general manager Glen Sather said. “His commitment and perseverance to the Rangers, and the game of hockey, has been an inspiration for everyone in the organization, and he has become a role model for young players and veterans alike. We are excited that he will continue to provide that leadership in a Rangers uniform.”

The first three years of the deal are covered by a full no-move clause, while the last three years include what’s known as a modified no-trade clause.

Staal was up for unrestricted free agent status as of July 1, but he and the Rangers always wanted to get a deal done. With the signing, the Blueshirts have locked in their three longest-tenured players – goalie Henrik Lundqvist, defenceman Dan Girardi and Staal – for five or more seasons through until the 2019-2020 season.

Staal has made a considerable impact with the Rangers since arriving in October of 2007 under then-coach Tom Renney. He played a primarily defensive role at first, which is where his tenacity for blocking shots and dishing out open-ice punishment came into play. When coach John Tortorella came aboard, Staal’s offensive production took a jump.

In 2010-2011, he posted 29 points – his career-best total so far. Staal is not exactly ever going to crack those totals on a regular basis, but he is prone to streaky scoring and can be a reliable power play presence.

For the most part, though, it’s the defensive stuff that has earned him this extension. Staal has 48 hits in 43 games this season, plus he has 72 blocked shots and is on pace for 137 on the year. He also has 28 takeaways and logs about 22 minutes per game.

While Staal isn’t exactly putting up elite numbers, he’s a solid defensive presence for the Rangers and that’s what counts for Sather right now. The issue with this extension, whether one thinks it’s too costly for New York or not, is that it gives them stability and means they can let the team grow. They’ve got one of the best goalies in the league and a firm defensive group. That counts for quite a bit.

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